Gaza quickly jumps to deny multiple foreign media reports that Ramadan Shalah, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who just had to undergo surgery for a massive stroke, was not a victim of poisoning, saying he’s merely suffering from ‘natural illness.’
By Elior Levy
Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah has reportedly suffered a massive stroke and had to undergo surgery in an attempt to save his life, according to Hamas-affiliated media reports Tuesday.
According to the reports, which have not been confirmed, Shalah will not be able to fully return to work.
Shalah, who is normally located in Syria, is reportedly currently in Lebanon.
Islamic Jihad denied reports there has been an attempt on Shalah’s life, but confirmed he has been sick. According to senior Islamic Jihad leader Ahmad al-Mudallal, Shalah has been suffering from a “natural illness” for several weeks.
“We wish him speedy recovery,” al-Mudallal said without detailing what the nature of the illness is.
Islamic Jihad officials said the terror group’s leadership has already begun thinking of holding elections to find a replacement for Shalah, in case he is unable to resume his duties.
Shalah has been the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s secretary-general since 1995, after the assassination of Fathi Shaqaqi. He was one of the terror group’s founders and in the organization’s early days he also edited the movement’s journal.
He spent most of his years at the Islamic Jihad headquarters in Damascus, commanding over terror attacks and rocket fire launched at Israel.
The 60-year-old Palestinian terrorist, who was born in Gaza, is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, with the prize on his head set at $5 million.
He has a doctorate from a British university and has worked as a lecturer for international relations in Florida.
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